Regulator should not be too rough | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 04, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 04, 2011

Regulator should not be too rough

Telecoms secretary tells eAsia seminar

Telecom Secretary Sunil Kanti Bose yesterday urged the industry regulator to not be 'heavy-handed' in dealing with stakeholders so that they do not face any problems.
"Rather, the regulator should be very liberal. BTRC should resolve its disputes," he said. "If any issue goes to court, it will take longer to get results."
The secretary was speaking at a seminar styled "Appropriate Telecommunications Regulatory Regime" at the just concluded three-day ICT event, eAsia 2011, at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.
Policy-makers, regulators and local and foreign telecom analysts participated in the seminar chaired Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Zia Ahmed.
Bose said the role of the regulator should be to look after the long-term interests of the people and the country so that they benefit from the availability of telephony services.
Sanjaya, who gave only one name, of Asia Pacific Network Information Centre of Australia, said a good regulator ensures affordability, inclusiveness and service choices for consumers.
The best regulatory approach to take in decision making is to discuss matters with stakeholders, such as operators or customers, he added.
Rohan Samarajiva, chief executive officer of LIRNEAsia, a Sri Lankan think-tank, said Bangladesh has done extremely well in the voice sector (mobile) but its internet penetration is very low and challenging.
The bandwidth price must be kept low to take services to the people at cheaper prices, he added.
He suggested the regulator reduce uncertainty in the telecom sector for licensing or renewal.
Abu Saeed Khan, secretary general of Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh, said telecom and internet are now synonyms. “Broadband has become a utility nowadays.”
For the country's education sector, video learning is important, which can be accessed through mobile broadband.
Khan said digitalising the country is possible thorough mobile technology as the sector has already completed the necessary ground work.
Sumon Ahmed Sabir, vice president of Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh, highlighted some discrepancies in the existing policies.
He said the International Long Distance Telecommunication Service policy is an example of a bad policy that does not create any value for the sector. Rather, it provided some new licences to inexperienced people, he said.
Sabir said service providers purchase the same data and voice bandwidth from different entities. Before formulating such policies, the government should talk to the stakeholders, he added.
Rene Summer of Ericsson said connectivity is just the beginning while the next step is "what you can do with the connectivity".
He said 1,000 broadband-users can create 80 new jobs. Telecommunications can play a fundamental role in the economic development of a country, he added.

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